Tuesday, March 13, 2012

As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins

Book Jacket

Train.  Car.  Plane.  Boat.  Feet.  He'll get there.  Won't he?


This should have been a book I adored.  It's an ode to wandering, to finding friends in unlikely places, and to finding your way home despite incredible difficulties.  Ry is a teenaged boy on a train toward summer camp.  When he gets off the train to make a phone call, and the train leaves him behind, an adventure begins.  His parents are on vacation in the Caribbean, and his grandfather got temporary amnesia when he fell and hit his head.  No one can help Ry get home except for a possibly insane man named Del.

Sounds interesting, right?  It might have been, if Perkins hadn't written in a weirdly detached, stream-of-consciousness prose.  The story never felt immediate or dangerous; it was like looking at paintings in a sort of "oh, that happened...interesting" way.  I can't describe the style well, but it wasn't something I enjoyed.

Ry himself is not my kind of protagonist.  He never initiates anything until the last few pages of the book (when, unsurprisingly, I began to like him).  Events happen to him.  Bad things happen to him.  Other people make decisions around him.  Ry himself just kind of floats along in the current.  Which was, I think, the point of the book.  So really I guess I don't like the point of the book.

Someone undoubtedly thinks this is wonderful, since it was nominated for the 2013 Caudill award.  But I won't be voting for it.

Two out of five homemade airplanes.

Release Date: April 2010
Reading Level: Grade 7+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: CAUDILL


  1. Interesting... This was a Black Eyed Susan book in MD but I never got a chance to read it. Definitely doesn't sound very appealing. I wasn't a fan of Criss Cross. Maybe Perkins is just one of those writers who you either love or... not?

  2. Yes, she has a very distinctive writing style, and I think it will either awe or annoy most readers.